De Montfort University (UK) is one of my alma maters but that’s not the only reason for mentioning this item. Researchers at the university are examining the possibility of using gold nanoparticles and small molecules to create flexible memory drives. From the news item on Azonano,
Medicine bottles that alert you when a prescription needs updating and computer screens which can be rolled up to fit in a briefcase are a step closer thanks to research led by a De Montfort University (DMU) academic from Punjab, India.
Dr Shashi Paul, Head of DMU’s Emerging Technologies Research Centre (EMTERC) in Leicester, UK, has been working with a team of researchers, exploring the potential of gold nanoparticles and small molecules to create memory chips that are so flexible they can be used in paper and clothing.
I’m intrigued by the reference to paper and clothing which seems to be a very popular ‘macro material’ application for nanotech research into flexible batteries and, now, memory drives. However, I’ve noted before (‘singing’ varnish) I’m not a big fan of materials which sound alarms since researchers don’t seem to be including a shut off button as a part of the package.
Canada’s National Film Board (NFB) has released part 1 (15 mins 59 secs) of a compendium of animated science minutes produced by Marc Bertrand. You can watch it online and/or order it from the NFB site,
The Science Please! collection uses archival footage, animated illustrations and amusing narration to explain various scientific discoveries and phenomena. This compilation includes: The Atom, The State of the Matter, The Dirt on Soap, Explosives, Gravity, Operation Lever, The Force of Water, Lift Off, Wheel Meets Friction, The Internal Combustion Engine, Fire, The Wind, Slippery Ice and The Refrigerator.
You can also read about the producer’s experience making these films.
Van Gogh nanotubes and other materials nano art
After posting information about the restoration of a Van Gogh masterpiece (The Bedroom) which is being blogged, I couldn’t resist Nanowerk’s latest news item about nano art,
During the 2009 MRS Fall Meeting in Boston, MA last year, the MRS conducted the eigth installment of the popular “Science as Art” competition (View winners from past competitions). Here are the six first-place and second-place winners
Here’s a sample image from the series on Nanowerk,
Van Gogh Nanotubes From the mind of Vincent van Gogh to the surface of self-assembled arrays of carbon nanotubes. This image obtained via scanning electron microscopy, evokes the magnum opus of Vincent van Gogh, Starry Night. These arrays are formed from a dried dispersion of single wall carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) dispersed in water with a polymer PVP and a surfactant SDBS. The average width of a small SWNT bundle shown here is ∼1 µm. False color was added with Adobe Photoshop. (Image: Mariela Bravo-Sanchez, Universidad Autonoma de San Luis Potosi, Mexico)
Do check out this and the other images available at Nanowerk (they’re also including links to some of their other galleries). It’s exciting to see how the imagery is changing as it seems to me that the use of colour and shape is getting more subtle. There’s still dramatic stuff but not all the images are dramatic which makes for a richer viewing experience.
If you are interested in viewing the Materials Research Society site, go here.
News and haiku from the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network
I got my newsletter yesterday from the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network (NISE Net). As their big annual project Nano Days (Mar. 27 – April 4, 2010) is due to finish this Sunday, the network is beginning to focus on the upcoming April 22, 2010 Earth Day.The newsletter lists some podcasts you can access on solar cells and water purification,
→ Water Purification
- DragonflyTV Episode: Water Clean Up (about using nanoiron to clean up pollution in soil and prevent it from getting into drinking water)
- Museum of Science Podcast: Purifying Pollutants (about using glass to remove oil from water, plus a videocast on the same topic)
They also mention that this year is the 20th anniversary of one of the defining moments for nanotechnology in the US. Don Eigler, IBM, nudged a series of Xenon atoms into place forming the letters IBM at the nanoscale.
→ 20th Anniversary On April 5, 1990, Don Eigler and Erhard Schweizer announced in Nature that they had arranged 35 single atoms of xenon to spell out IBM. Chris Toumey of University of South Carolina looks back on the experiment in the April issue of Nature Nanotechnology. You can watch Don Eigler talk to visitors at the Museum of Science about moving atoms in a series of YouTube videos here (part of the Talking Nano dvd set).
This month the newsletter was able (sigh of relief, they didn’t have any submissions last month) to end on a nano haiku,
For hours, I build a
giant balloon nanotube.
Ouch. My fingers hurt!
Do check out the NISE Net site for all this information and more including a recent blog post about the difference between talking about nanotech with fellow academics and talking about it with the general public. The organization is focused on educators both in schools and in science museums but they do offer lots of interesting information even if you don’t fall into one of their target markets.